Malaysia Airlines MH17 Conspiracy Theories Are Already Circulating
Thursday saw the horrifying crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Ukraine. We've since learned about the flight's victims — 298 of them, to be exact, and at least one American citizen — and the possible (though not assured) culpability of pro-Russian separatists within Ukraine. Since Thursday, information has been flowing freely as the whole world focuses its gaze on the scene of the awful wreck. So, what's next? Oh yeah — here come the MH17 conspiracy theories.
It's one of the tried-and-true consequences of any story as big as this one. A huge geopolitical event like the shooting down of a passenger plane is always going to be a ripe target for conspiracy theorists to start coming out of the woodwork — especially when the tragedy occurs on a place as politically charged as the Russia-Ukraine border.
This is a phenomenon that knows no national boundary, either. While America does sometimes seem to have a knack for conspiracy theories, the rest of the world is no less enamored with them. And so, as evidence, here are some of the crazier MH17 conspiracy theories, from the United States to Russia, and from Russia back to us.
The United States
- Meet Alex Jones, a foaming-at-the-mouth Austin-based radio host. If you've ever heard somebody try to talk to you about Infowars.com, this is that guy. With characteristic quickness, Jones started breathlessly talking up the crash as a Ukrainian false flag attack about 30 minutes after news broke.
- For that matter, how about some good old fashioned numerology? As The New York Times' C.J. Chivers tweeted: "Haunting: Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, Reg 9M-MRD, made 1st flight on 7-17-97. It met its end 17 years later, to the day -aviation official". What does this mean? Nothing, really. Why is it haunting? Who knows, but plenty of people have been willing to speculate in the responses to the tweet.
As the Boston Globe details, the numerology angle also catches up some Illuminati and alien abduction angles in its wake. As they quoted from the aptly-named IlluminatiWatcher.com:
- Another theory to consider, entirely unsupported by even a glint of evidence, is this: Maybe Russian President Vladimir Putin himself ordered the plane shot down to kill the AIDS researchers traveling aboard.
- Also, there's this:
- Russia has staked out its own explanation for the downed plane — which, as you'd expect, aims to tamp down any talk of their involvement, or that of pro-Russian separatist forces in Ukraine. Their theory is that plane was actually shot down mistakenly, by Ukranian forces trying to kill Russian President Vladimir Putin as his plane flew back to Moscow from the BRICS summit in Brazil.
This was the angle taken by state-funded media outlet Russia Today, better known as RT, which has already lost a correspondent over its coverage of the crash.
The article then backtracks a bit, conceding that the anonymous source-based report from Interfax had been contradicted by others reporting Putin's plane wasn't over Ukraine, and that Intefax was the only media outlet to say otherwise. But that didn't prevent the theory from catching like wildfire on social media.
Basically, as always seems to happen when times are at their hardest, it's been a field day for conspiracy theorists. And since much as is yet unknown about this seismic global event, it could easily stretch into a field week, or month (or hell, make it a year).